Thursday, April 28, 2016

Josephine Seeks to Expand Homemade Food Legislation

The Oakland-based food startup is urging legislators to reform food laws to legitimize at-home food businesses.

by Sydney Johnson
Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 2:18 PM

Homemade African peanut stew and freshly baked sourdough bread made by Josephine cooks Alex Hrvatin and Jessica Kalar. - SYDNEY JOHNSON
  • Sydney Johnson
  • Homemade African peanut stew and freshly baked sourdough bread made by Josephine cooks Alex Hrvatin and Jessica Kalar.
Around 7 p.m. last Thursday evening, the final guests trickled out of the home of Laurel residents Alex Hrvatin and Jessica Kalar. After three hours of serving and mingling, Hrvatin, a classically trained chef from Ohio, handed off the couple’s last serving of a homemade African peanut stew and freshly baked sourdough bread.

It’s a timelessly familiar exchange. A neighbor comes over, conversation is had, good food is shared. But unlike the hosts of a traditional dinner party, Hrvatin and Kalar are getting paid for the fresh, home-cooked meals they prepare for their neighbors several nights a week, with the help of an increasingly popular website called Josephine.

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Mid-Week Menu: R.I.P. Genova Deli

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 9:59 AM

  • Jose and Roxanne/Flickr (CC)
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Earlier this year, the Express broke the story that Genova Delicatessen — a Temescal institution for ninety years, and one of the last vestiges of that neighborhood’s history as an Italian-American enclave — would likely close this spring due to an untenable rent hike. Sadly, the Mercury News reports that Genova’s owners have now announced that April 30 will, in fact, be the deli’s last day of business, the desperate pleas of longtime customers notwithstanding.

See also:
Rent Hike May Force Genova Delicatessen, an Oakland Institution, to Close after Ninety Years in Temescal

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

East Bay Tattoo Artist Publishes an Illustrated Vegan Cookbook

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 2:16 PM

The artist's influences include Renaissance paintings. - CECILIA GRANATA
  • Cecilia Granata
  • The artist's influences include Renaissance paintings.
What do tattoo art, veganism, and Italian home cooking have in common? Maybe not a whole lot — unless you happen to be a vegan tattoo artist who grew up in Italy.

But these are the themes of Mama Tried: Traditional Italian Cooking for the Screwed, Crude, Vegan, and Tattooed, a new illustrated cookbook by Cecilia Granata, a Berkeley-based tattoo artist and freelance illustrator.

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Delage to Softly Open at Swan's Market with Michelin-Starred Sushi Chef at the Helm

by Luke Tsai
Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Via Instagram, @as_bdama.
  • Via Instagram, @as_bdama.
Don't look now, but Oakland is about to get a serious addition to its sushi scene: A few months ago, What the Fork reported that Chikara Ono, chef-owner of AS B-Dama (907 Washington St., Oakland), was planning to open a new sushi restaurant at Swan's Market, in a stand-alone space at 536 9th Street, adjacent to the main "food court" area that houses AS B-Dama.

That restaurant, which Ono has since dubbed Delage, will softly open with an omakase-style prix-fixe dinner menu this week, with preliminary hours from about 5:30 to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mid-Week Menu: Handlebar Shifts Gears, Cupkates Changes Owners, and Lost and Found Hosts a Sour Beer Fundraiser for Betti Ono Gallery

by Luke Tsai
Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 12:38 PM

The burger and tater tots at Handlebar. - BERT JOHNSON/FILE PHOTO
  • Bert Johnson/File photo
  • The burger and tater tots at Handlebar.
Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Some pretty significant changes are on the horizon at Handlebar, the burger- and tater tot-serving West Berkeley bar, Berkeleyside Nosh reports. The main thing is that owner Jennifer Seidman has brought on Farm League — the design and management group behind Tigerlily and a handful of other East Bay bars and restaurants — to tweak the overall concept and approach to service, which will now skew even more casual: Moving forward, customers will order food directly at the kitchen window — a more “fast-casual” approach that seems designed, in part, to keep down the bar’s labor expenses. Handlebar will close temporarily at the end of April, and when it reopens it will have a new name.

See also:
All You Can Handle

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Former Calavera Employees Fight Back Against Alleged Wage Theft

The high-end Mexican restaurant is now facing a class-action lawsuit.

by Sydney Johnson
Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 10:09 AM

When Flor Crisostomo walked into Calavera restaurant last October, where she had been employed since before its opening during the summer of 2015, she didn’t expect the news she received.

BARWM supporters carry banner declaring "Food Justice = Worker Justice" - JENNY HUANG/ BARWM
  • Jenny Huang/ BARWM
  • BARWM supporters carry banner declaring "Food Justice = Worker Justice"
"I went in and they fired me on the spot, arguing that I wasn’t doing enough for the kitchen, not fulfilling my responsibilities, and that production was slow," Crisostomo told the Express in an interview. "They didn’t give me a two-week notice, and they were referring to a position that was not mine."

For Crisostomo and other workers at Calavera, this was not the first instance of what they perceived as an abuse of workers’ rights. Last month, Crisostomo and fellow former Calavera employees Sergio Esquivel and Maribel Hernandez filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the high-end Mexican restaurant located in Uptown Oakland failed to pay workers the city's minimum wage, did not compensate for overtime, provided inadequate time for breaks, and did not pay owed wages upon termination. The workers are also calling on the public to boycott Calavara.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Cholita Linda Won’t Be Coming to Lakeshore Avenue After All

by Luke Tsai
Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 10:10 AM

Cholita Linda's signature fried fish taco. - CHRIS DUFFEY/FILE PHOTO
  • Chris Duffey/File photo
  • Cholita Linda's signature fried fish taco.
Earlier this year, I reported that diners in the Lake Merritt area would soon be feasting on Baja-style fish tacos, as Cholita Linda, Temescal’s wildly popular taqueria and pan-Latin restaurant, was set to open a second location at 3256 Lakeshore Avenue — the old Burrito Shop spot.

It turns out I jumped the gun: In an interview, Cholita Linda co-owner Murat Sozeri told me that landlords Barry and Elaine Gilbert backed out of their months-long “handshake agreement” last week, and have instead decided to lease the storefront to a falafel shop — despite the fact that the proprietors of Cholita Linda had already invested a significant amount of money into the restaurant.

See also:
Que Linda!

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Friday, April 1, 2016

El Cerrito Gets a Himalayan Market

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 4:49 PM

A new shopping option in El Cerrito. - HIMALAYAN MARKET
  • Himalayan Market
  • A new shopping option in El Cerrito.
For many true food adventurers, restaurants are a dime a dozen, and it’s the international markets — tucked away in ethnic enclaves and at remote suburban strip malls — that are often the real treasure trove.

Here in the East Bay, the latest addition is Himalayan Grocery (10340 San Pablo Ave.), a Nepalese-owned grocery store in El Cerrito that will have its first day of business on Sunday, April 3, according to Taniya Acharya, whose father, Kiran Acharya, is one of four Nepalese friends who are opening the store together.

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Antoinette Flames Out; Dominique Crenn Unfazed

by Luke Tsai
Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 11:17 AM

It isn’t every day that you publish an unflattering review of a restaurant only to find out, before the dust even settles, that the restaurant in question has decided to shut down. But that’s what happened this week with Antoinette, the ambitious — but deeply flawed — French brasserie at the Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel. On Wednesday, the hotel announced that the last day of business for the current incarnation of Antoinette will be next Wednesday, April 6, at which point the restaurant will close for several weeks and undergo a significant reboot.

See also:
Antoinette Serves Hotel Food for the One Percent

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